Pennsylvania announced today a Multi-Million Dollar plan to crack down on drunk drivers over the Holidays. Pennsylvania Law enforcement along with many other states across the country have announced Monday they’ll be increasing DUI enforcement through New Year’s Day as part of a federal campaign to curb Drunk Driving during the holidays. At Ciccarelli Law Offices we understand that serious legal consequences can evolve out of what police deem are “routine interactions with the public.”
Increase of DUI Checkpoints in Pennsylvania
Officials have named the program, “Operation Safe Holiday”. The purpose of the campaign is to increase sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic safety patrols, to crack down on motorists who are driving while impaired. Police typically use interactions with the public during a sobriety checkpoint to establish Probable Cause to draw the driver’s blood and check it for Blood Alcohol Content or Drug Metabolites. Things such as a drivers appearance, what they say and objects that are in plain view in your vehicle can all contribute to whether an officer has probable cause to draw your blood. These things can also lead to an officer asking you to participate in a sobriety test on the side of the road.
The Supreme Court has stated that although DUI Checkpoints are the equivalent of suspicionless motor vehicle stops – they are not unconstitutional. The checkpoints must follow certain guidelines so they can be held to not violate the 4th Amendment.
The guidelines are as follows:
(1) The Police may only conduct a momentary stop of your vehicle, less than 30 seconds, and they cannot physically search the vehicle or its occupants.
(2) The Roadblock must be visible so as to limit the surprise of the people approaching the stop, this can include signs around 500 Feet out, and also the check point should be announced in a local newspaper.
(3) Also the decision to hold a Road block requires prior administrative approval, by a high ranking member of the Department.
(4) Also the police must show, in court, that the location and time selected for the checkpoint is likely to be traveled by intoxicated drivers, using empirical, or historical evidence.
(5) Additionally, the question of which vehicles to stop at the roadblock should be determined by a predetermined standard that doesn’t not leave the cars to be stopped up to the officers discretion.
PennDOT, the Pennsylvania DUI Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, AAA Mid-Atlantic and state and local police announced the campaign during a joint press conference in Delaware County, Monday. The campaign is funded partly by PennDOT’s statewide distribution of $4.6 million in federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This new initiative by law enforcement was in response to last years high incidents, statewide during the Christmas and New Year travel periods, which included, 4,184 crashes and 41 fatalities.
Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Attorney
Have you been arrested or charged while going through a sobriety checkpoint? Don’t navigate the confusing criminal justice system alone. Call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices to represent you today. For a free case evaluation or any questions regarding your case, call (610) 692-8700.